I have been back from the SHRM Atlanta conference for a couple of days now and had a chance to gather my thoughts about the event. First and foremost I would like to thank the Board of SHRM Atlanta for putting on a superb event. It all worked; the hotel, the meeting rooms, the exhibit hall, lunch and the tweet-up.
There were a number of familiar faces on-site, all smiling and enjoying themselves. It was particularly nice to run into Joe Gerstandt and Jason Lauritsen, who apparently brought down the house with their opening keynote address. Unfortunately, I did not arrive in time to catch them. Those of us in Illinois hold Talent Anarchy in high regard.
One thing that did jump out to me about this conference was that there was really no regionality to the event. Any of the Atlanta sessions would have worked just as well in Albuquerque or Anchorage. This tells me HR shares the same issues no matter where you are in the country – and probably in North America.
Some other things that I noticed at the event were that HR folks in Hotlanta dress nicer than those in the Mid-West. Many, if not most, of the men had on coats – yeah sport coats or suits. The women – many dresses. I told one of my friends Deborah Herman, I expected to hear ZZ Top bust out into Sharp Dressed Man at some point. This actually was a nice departure from what I have become used to.
I was somewhat surprised at the continued lack of adoption of twitter by HR Pros. I took a look at Tweet Reach and only found 707 tweets for the event. (Although I do not know what that time frame represents.) There were a number of the social media luminaries there, but overall I really didn’t feel the twitter big buzz. Nonetheless, Jim Stroud and Teela Jackson took it upon themselves to do some heavy lifting on the twitter stream for the conference.
Probably the most interesting thing I encountered in the exhibit hall was a booth selling Pet Insurance as an employee voluntary benefit. VPI Pet had two representatives on site and they were working the crowd very well.
I did get to attend a few sessions (so I could grab some of those old HRCI re-cert credits). I caught the end of Joe Gerstandt doing “No, Great Minds Do NOT think Alike.” Joe gets an A+. I also caught Beth Miller speaking on Multi-Generational Management. I give her a B+. She needed to have her twitter handle out there so folks could mention her in their tweets. And the only other session I attended was one that Teela Jackson commanded me to attend (not really). Jennifer Mc Clure did an encore presentation of her program “From HR Leader to Business Leader.” Her room filled up early, and there was simply no place left for anyone to sit. So the ever gracious Jennifer did it again. A+
Then capping off the day were the last break out sessions at 3 PM on day two of the conference. This was my reason for being there. I, along with my co-presenter Julie Moreland Senior VP from PeopleClues presented, as advertised, a highly interactive session, on HR Thinking Creatively. I would like to thank Julie and People Clues for giving me the opportunity to work with them. I would really also like to thank the 30 or so people who stuck around and joined in our session. It was an excellent group – diehards; each and every one of them. I do need to call a few of the folks out by name – Deborah Herman, Chris Havrilla, Lisa Watson and especially my friend Mike Haberman. They all stuck with us, and Mike was gracious enough to talk about our presentation in one of his blog posts on SHRM ATL. SHRM Atlanta ’13 was great experience for me. I got to visit with and make some new friends, meet up with some old friends, and I was a presenter at an awesome conference – a pretty good way to spend a couple of days out of the office.